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JetBlue Tries To Win Back Customers. OK.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on February 21, 2007

I got a personal apology from the head of JetBlue today—and it’s a first step toward regaining my business. JetBlue came up with its own Passenger Bill Of Rights—before Congress—that offers real compensation for messing with customers. A sliding scale of “I’m sorries” from $25 for small delays to round-trip tickets for really blowing it works for me as well.

But more is needed. A surprise. Something delightful, unexpected, generous. Seth Godin thinks a Portlach is in order—a true offering on a grand scale of 40 or 50 tickets to those held hostage in planes last week for hours. Great idea. I like mine better, just because it involves food. Give everyone hurt last week a Harry and David’s basket of fruit. Heck, give everyone who has been on a JetBlue flight in the last year a Harry & David’s basket. That’ll turn around sentiment toward JetBlue immediately.

Any other suggestions?

Reader Comments

gadi amit

February 22, 2007 8:56 PM

I got the same 'personal' email and replied this way:-

'Dear David,

Thank you very much for your note.
However, I have to suggest that it is not entirely genuine. If you'd truly look to recover your reputation, you should take more drastic steps to show that you truly mean it. I would suggest the following:-
1. Fire the pilots of any aircraft that imprisoned their occupants for more than 3 hours. This will send a very strong message to the people most responsible to the passengers' comfort and safety- the Pilots. There is no way you could justify locking people inside an aircraft for 8 hours - this is more than enough time for a reasonable Pilot to understand that something had gone terribly wrong and all efforts should be taken to keep the dignity and comfort of their passengers. Pilots who fail to identify such conditions should be transporting cargo for FedEx, not passengers for JetBlue.

2. Publicly and officially support efforts made by law-makers to instate passengers-bill-of-rights. No excuses, 'if's and 'but's. This will send a clear message - 'We understand that we cannot govern ourselves on issues related to passenger's comfort, safety and dignity. We understand that we need to be subjected to applicable laws in order to force upon ourselves rules that are uncompromising and not subjected to changing business conditions' - Such message is exactly the message missing from your apology.

I hope you'd have the moral and intellectual courage to embrace this friendly message.


Gadi Amit


February 22, 2007 9:48 PM

I like the idea of offering a free ticket and a generous little surprise to affected customers to win them back. But many of the recommendations seem to suggest that JetBlue should pay exorbitant apology bribes to everyone on earth who was affected, or who was nearly affected, by the airline's monumental failure. Those same consumers should be willing to pay a 100% premium to JetBlue whenever they receive truly superior service in the future. Performance compensation should cut both ways.

Yet my biggest concern is the fury exhibited by the offended. What ever happened to good old fashioned forgiveness? JetBlue suffered a chain-reaction of accidental errors and is making a reasonable effort to compensate for them. It's not like they committed fraud or endangered lives by falsifying maintenance records. The situation might be different if JetBlue had cashed in on their mistakes. I'm not sure canceling flights and inconveniencing customers is justification for a corporate crucifixion. Many of the compensation proposals that have been presented are childish, excessive and seem to be motivated more by opportunistic greed than by a sense of justice.

To all those people who want handfuls of free tickets and a weeping personal apology from JetBlue's CEO I say: I hope you receive more mercy than you're showing the next time you make a monumental mistake.

Kris Patel

February 23, 2007 2:59 AM

I too received the apology email from JetBlue which advocated their newly constructed passenger bill of rights. I do think this is a good start for JetBlue to get back on the good side of many of its patrons, but it is only a start. The process of turning around and extending a hand to fliers could very well boost their sales if they use their cards correctly. And by "use their cards" I am referring to much of what you, Bruce, have identified as giving those airplane "prisoners" and the rest of JetBlue fliers flight tickets and fruit [I personally would enjoy a nice steak].


February 27, 2007 5:16 PM

who can ever recover a reputation. If it's lost, it's lost. Re-design :)

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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